Yesterday, I ran across an interesting article praising ebooks over print. I found it absolutely refreshing. Here is someone unabashedly coming out and saying that they think that ebooks are vastly superior to their print counterparts.
When I first started this blog in 2011, it seemed like every other article I read was talking about how bad ebooks were and emphasizing the many ways that print books had the advantages. Most of the pieces I read made the same points over and over: “Real books” smelled better and felt better to the touch. Paper books didn’t need a battery, a charger, or a WiFi connection. You could share them, lend and even donate or sell them when you were done.As time went on, these types of articles started adding references to studies and statistics that pointed out that you remembered more of what you read on a print book or that teenagers didn’t like to read books in digital form.
Now, almost eight years later, I still see these articles. At least once or twice a month, I find one of these article coming up on a blog or I read or on one of the internet alerts I have set up for articles on ebooks. Any more, most of the posts are opinion pieces, many from smaller, local papers. But the tone nowadays is almost nostalgic. The print book is an artifact, symbolizing the struggle against the technology that threatens to overwhelm our lives and offering a respite from the endless array of screens we are surrounded by daily.
Back in 2011, the publishing industry really feared that ebooks would take over the publishing industry. We have now seen that that’s not happening. People are still going to bookstores, still buying print books. Many people buy both: ebooks for casual reading and paper for books they want to keep. Or perhaps they buy fiction in digital, non-fiction in paper.
Maybe now that publishers have raised the prices of ebooks enough to seriously slow down their growth, the industry is no longer quite as worried about the effect of ebooks on the publishing economy, After all, audiobooks are the publishing industry’s new darling, with digital audiobooks sales way, way up. And since in most cases, the publishers firmly control the audio rights along with the print rights, maybe they are not worried about audio disrupting their profits.
Or maybe, there’s just one guy out there who, like me, is saying please don’t buy me any print books for Christmas. I’d rather read ebooks.
What about you? Are you E or P?